For those who are riding the 21st century wave of skin decoration, here’s a nod to tattoos.

The Argus – 6 April 1946

Donald Duck - tattoo cartoon


.The Sunday Times – 19 November 1905

Take your pick – blushed cheeks or a serpent wrapped around your arm.

Flush of youth tattoos - Japanese 1905

Tattoo illustration 1905

The Sun-Herald – 12 September 1954

I’m pretty sure that dragons and butterflies are back, only not just on men’s bodies.

Tattoo topics

Edward Lear

From Project Gutenberg –  two of Edward Lear’s works rolled together in an 1889 Frederick Warne edition.

Edward Lear - The Owl and the Pussycat

Owl and pussycatDuck and kangaroo

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Nonsense Drolleries, by Edward Lear

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

book covers

I really like the beauty and simplicity of these inked fonts pressed into old cloth book covers.

That is all.

The Motor Boys - Clarence Young

Aunt Jimmy's Will - Mabel Osgood Wright

via Project Gutenberg

The Motor Boys – Clarence Young 1906

Aunt Jimmy’s Will – Mabel Osgood Wright 1903

humour at the dining table – 1887

Australian Town and Country Journal – 22 October 1887

no 'show' cartoon 1887

carbolic acid, phenyle, phenol – all purpose disinfectant

Another fine Troedel poster from the State Library of Victoria (c 1870-1879) No copyright restrictions.

Phenyle, phenol or carbolic acid was and is used as a disinfectant, although with more caution and regulation than in the 19th century. (Australian Town and Country Journal – 2 November 1872)

Little's Phenyle Disinfectantscarbolicacid

the beginnings of a bunny called Peter

Following yesterday’s post about The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, here are a couple of drawings from The West Australian and The Argus both printed on 7 September 1946 in newspaper articles promoting the release of Beatrix Potter’s biography.  Potter had illustrated letters to a child some 8 years before considering the rabbit drawings as material for a book.1946 BP biographyHow Peter Rabbit beganMrs Bunny

Peter Rabbit – what’s wrong with this picture

In 1916, when Beatrix Potter was 50 years old and her creation Peter Rabbit was a teenager, the following version of Potter’s classic was released in the United States by The Saalfield Publishing Company. Not by Potter’s publishers Frederick Warne & Co and not with Potter’s own illustrations. Well that last bit is not entirely true as I discovered while browsing through this e-book from Project Gutenberg. Here’s the original.

VA - front cover Peter Rabbit VA - title page Peter Rabbit


The part where it says “illustrations by Virginia Albert” is mostly true. Compare these images from both books.

Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit 1 Virginia Albert Peter Rabbit 1

Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit 2Virginia Albert Peter Rabbit 2


Yes.  There they are – copies of Potter’s work tucked in among the ‘new’ version of the illustrated bunny and looking a little strange in the company of the very different approach of Virginia Albert. Warne & Co must have had their copyright all stitched up in Europe as this French version [all rights reserved] was printed in Great Britain.  Apparently Warne’s New York office did not register the copyright for The Tale of Peter Rabbit in the US thus opening the floodgates to imitators and blocking the considerable income stream that Warne and Potter herself would have earned.

At Abe Books (online sellers of used books) you can find pirated editions of Peter Rabbit that were published as early as 1904 when, for example, the Philadelphia publishers Altemus copyrighted The Tale of Peter Rabbit using all of Potter’s illustrations and text. They left one thing off – the author’s name! I note too that the Saalfield Peter Rabbit books were all copyrighted.

Pierre Lapin

Copyright 1916

Virginia Albert went on to illustrate other Peter Rabbit books also published by Saalfield. One can only imagine the response of Beatrix Potter to the titles and content.

By Louise A Field with Albert’s illustrations there was Peter Rabbit and his Ma, then Peter Rabbit and his Pa. By an unknown author with Albert’s illustrations came Peter Rabbit and Sammy Squirrel and Peter Rabbit and Jimmy Chipmunk. The style of the illustrations is inconsistent. These images are via Amazon.

Peter Rabbit and his PaJimmy Chipmunk

To add to the fun, another illustrator by the name of Ethel Hays put her oar into the Peter Rabbit waters. Ethel Hays was the illustrator of the Raggedy Ann stories.  Images via Wikipedia and Amazon.

Ethel Hays - Peter RabbitEthel Hays' Peter Rabbit

American children’s author and conservationist Thornton W Burgess wrote many stories based on Peter Rabbit. They included Mrs Peter RabbitPeter Rabbit Puts on Airs and Peter Rabbit Learns from the Striped Chipmunk. The Peter Cottontail character morphed out of these tales. (Remember that Cottontail was one of Peter Rabbit’s brothers in the original tale). Harrison Cady who illustrated many books for Burgess, including Peter Rabbit Proves a Friend, wrote and illustrated a newspaper comic strip called Peter Rabbit from 1920 to 1948.  Image via e-Bay per Gibson Books.

Thornton W Burgess Harrison Cady

And so it goes. Mr McGregor protected his vegetable patch. Warne & Co had one forgetful moment and let a whole lot of other rabbits slip out from under their fence.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1934 travel poster – surf lifesavers

From Perth’s Daily News of 11 August 1934

Potential tourists with no knowledge of surf life saving may have wondered at these stylised characters apparently doing the hokey-pokey beside the seaside.  The colour photo is an iStockphoto image of contemporary lifesavers drilling with a rescue rope.

Australia travel promotion posteriStock_000003829695XSmall

reel entertainment – Pat Hanna

The hand coloured glass lantern slide below is an advertisement for Pat Hanna’s fishing reel which includes instructions for its use. Its companion slide (both are c 1924) is from the same Hanna Collection at the State Library of Victoria.

Pat Hanna was a variety stage and film entertainer as well as a keen fisherman and inventor.  In the 1920s, he was touring Australia with his troupe The Diggers.  Cairns Post – 23 July 1925.  Diggers

The photograph is from The Courier Mail of 27 February 1934.

Wintergarden Theatre Brisbane

Mr. Pat Hanna, film producer and actor (on right), greeted by Mr. E. H Pelling, manager of the Winter Garden Theatre, on his arrival at Brisbane yesterday.

Head over here for more about Pat Hanna’s life as a performer from the Australian Variety Theatre Archive site.

download (6)

download (7)

1865 nursery rhymes – when Little Bo-Peep was a boy

These delicious colour illustrations are from The National Nursery Book published c 1865 by Frederick Warne and Co (via Project Gutenberg).  It includes familiar and not-so-familiar stories and rhymes.  Goldilocks is Golden Hair and Little Bo-Peep is a small boy.


Bo Peep

There are over a hundred plates in the book.  Here are a few to whet your appetite.  Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to find any reference to the name of the illustrator.

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Red Riding Hood Old Mother Hubbard Goldilocks Punch and Judy Little Miss MuffetSimple Simon